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Saudi Arabia: GCHR congratulates Dr. Hala Al-Dosari for winning Human Rights Watch Award

2018-01-31

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) congratulates its Advisory Board member Dr. Hala Al-Dosari, a prominent women’s rights defender from Saudi Arabia, who has won the 2018 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism by Human Rights Watch.

"I'm honoured that the dedication of women to improve rights and freedoms in Saudi Arabia is being internationally recognised,” said Al-Dosari. “I am also grateful for the valuable support and courage of activists and civil society organisations who made this journey possible," she told GCHR.

Al-Dosari is a human rights defender, scholar, and women’s health activist. She is well-known for her activism to highlight the discrimination of women in Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive countries in the world – and the last to allow women to drive. They will only earn this right in June 2018 after recent reforms were announced. But women are still largely under the control of male guardians, as an upcoming joint submission by GCHR and partners to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) elaborates. Al-Dosari, who contributed to the report, also participates in GCHR events at the United Nations and in the region. She provides valuable advice and input for GCHR’s work supporting Saudi women's rights campaigns including the #Right2Drive and #IAmMyOwnGuardian campaigns.

Her writings and media comments on the socio-political affairs of Saudi Arabia and the challenges of civil society have appeared in many reputable media outlets. She is currently completing a fellowship on gender and women's health at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

“Dr. Hala Al-Dosari has made valuable contributions to the human rights movement and in particular the women's rights struggle at home,” said GCHR Executive Director Khalid Ibrahim. "Her support to GCHR’s work in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere is essential to our success. The GCHR team is proud of her and glad she has been honoured with this well-deserved and prestigious award.”

Human Rights Watch says, “Al-Dosari pushes her government to address gender equality and the right of activists, including women, to speak, protest, and write freely. As one of the leading voices for gender reform, she serves as an inspiration to women in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”

“The Alison Des Forges Award honours people who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to defending the dignity and rights of others,” said Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. “The honorees work tirelessly and courageously to stand up for justice, often in the face of danger and at great personal sacrifice.”

Dr. Alison Des Forges, a senior adviser at Human Rights Watch who died in a plane crash in 2009, was the world’s leading expert on the 1994 Rwanda genocide. The annual award in her name honours her outstanding commitment to human rights.

Al-Dosari will be honoured at events in Miami and New York. Russian lawyer and activist Ivan Pavlov also received the award. For more info, see: https://www.hrw.org/voices-for-justice

Photo credit: © 2017 Ann Lang Mun Co